Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council held on Monday, 11th January 2016, in the Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne, commencing at 7.30 pm.
Present: Mr A Ward (Vice Chairman), Mr J Cobbett, Mr D Ardley, Mr A Bennett, Mrs A Bennett, Mr P Waite
In attendance: Mr Patrik Garten, Prospective Conservative Candidate for the MBC North Downs Ward and Mrs V. Smith – Parish Clerk.
1. Apologies for absence: Cllr M Bedwell, Cllr M Gray, Cllr Mrs J Whittle – all due to previous commitments, and Cllr Dr S Bauer and Cllr Mrs D Parvin – both due to illness.
2. Declarations and Requests
Declaration of Changes to the Register of Interests – none; Declaration of Interest in items on the Agenda – Item 11 – Planning – 21 Eyhorne Street – Cllr J Cobbett will not vote as he has already formally objected to the planning application as a near neighbour. Requests for Dispensations – none
3. Approval of minutes of last meeting (circulated prior to meeting)
It was resolved that the minutes were a true and accurate record of the meeting, with the following exceptions:
6.b It is BT Openreach, and not BT Outreach, and in addition,
11. Borough Councillor’s Report – the statement of ‘on behalf of Councillor Daphne Parvin reported the following’ was deleted as Mr Garten will be the Prospective Candidate for the Conservatives for the local elections in May.
4. Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda)
6.a. The fly-tipping in the Station Approach is an ongoing issue. As some of the fly-tipping is removed another load is replaced there. Cllr Mrs A Bennett asked whether notices were in the vicinity, to inform people that they will be fined if they are seen fly-tipping, as this may help. The area in question is not very well illuminated and is not kept tidy. The Parish Council will bring this issue to the attention of the Maidstone BC, as because of the general state of the area, it does not set a very good example to those who ‘fly-tip’, and almost invites them to do so. Action: The Clerk
8.b. With relation to the ‘cherry-picker’ vehicle which is almost constantly parked opposite The Pavings, blocking the pathway for people with prams or in wheelchairs; the Parish Clerk will write to the landlord of The Old Chapel, as we believe that the owner of the said vehicle has a connection with the occupants of the property. The PCSO’s will also be asked to re-investigate the matter and try to see if the vehicle can be parked elsewhere.
12.b. With regards to the planning application 15/503232/FULL, at 21 Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne, Cllr P Waite is in contact with Mr Foad, a neighbour of the property. Cllr A Bennett would also like to attend the Planning Committee relevant to this application as well, and this was agreed.
5. Chairman’s Report presented by the Vice Chairman.
a. The Hollingbourne to Ashford railway line is undergoing intensive repair at the moment in the Hospital Road area. Eight-wheel dumper trucks are constantly delivering vast amounts of road stone to enable a road to be built in the field which has recently been used by the off-road bike club, to reach the embankment of the rail track. Possibly, the embankment is eroding away because of all of the wet weather that we have and perhaps because of the disruption to the ground in the field by the forming of banks and excavation of trenches for the Quad Bike track. The Clerk will write to South East Rail to find out why the works are taking place, and what they believe may have caused the problem. Action: The Clerk
6. Neighbourhood Plan – Cllr P Waite
Headcorn Parish Council are going ahead with their Neighbourhood Plan, but we have decided to put our own document on hold for now. This matter will be removed from the Parish Meeting Agenda until further notice.
7. Crime Report – PCSO Dave Rowley and PCSO Ryan Waring (via email)
a. The Hollingbourne crime figures 8th December 2015 – 6th January 2016. It has been fairly quiet this month with only one crime reported being on the 10th December – theft from a motor vehicle – Eyhorne Green. Cllr P Waite advised that two similar thefts had taken place in Thurnham Lane recently, the items stolen included ‘sat-navs’. There has not been any anti-social behaviour reported.
b. In comparison with last year, when there was also one crime report created – 2nd January 2015 – criminal damage – Eyhorne Street, and six cases of anti-social behaviour – 10th December 2015 – suspicious person – Hollingbourne Hill; 15th December 2015 – nuisance vehicle – Pilgrims Way; 21st & 29th December 2015 – poaching – Pilgrims Way; 4th January 2015 – nuisance vehicle – Ashford Road and 5th January 2015 – poaching – Hollingbourne Hill.
c. The PCSO’s will continue to monitor the situation of the cherry-picker vehicle parking in the lay-by outside of The Pavings. If the KCC Highways are able to lay down permanent parking restrictions, they will do their best to work with Parking Services to help enforce restrictions.
8. Clerk’s Report –
a. Mr A Snowdon, Chairman of The Leeds Castle and Hollingbourne Garden Society, has been given the ‘go-ahead’ to purchase a replacement village lawnmower, after comparing prices in various establishments, and he will then be reimbursed by the Parish Council.
b. The Clerk will be meeting the newly appointed Yasmin Cordine, Parish Liaison Officer, Maidstone BC on Monday, 18th January 2015.
9. County Councillor’s Report – Cllr Mrs J Whittle (via email)
a. With regards to the danger of the pedestrians, especially school children crossing the road on the Ashford Road to reach the bus-stop, Cllr Mrs J Whittle has received a report from the Stagecoach Bus Company via the Highways Department. The Parish Council were hoping that we could request that the bus picks up passengers from both sides of the road, first picking up from the Leeds side of the road, go around the Great Danes roundabout and then collect from the Hollingbourne side, turning once more on the Leeds Castle roundabout in the direction of their destination. In an email from Mr Robert Miller, Commercial Manager East Kent Stagecoach, he stated that “there is a ‘perception’ (however bizarre) amongst passengers that any deviation makes buses slow and this discourages travel”. This seems hard to understand, because surely if a pedestrian is knocked down, possibly killed, by a vehicle whilst reaching the bus-stop, the incident is going to cause huge delays in the bus driver’s journey, rather than a simple detour around the roundabouts. With this in mind there is simply no comparison between the matters. The Parish Councillors cannot accept the bus companies’ perceived reasons for not even giving our suggestion a ‘trial period’. The tragedy of a pedestrian being injured on the road would also bring bad press to Stagecoach, as the Parish Council’s request for a safer road crossing in this area has already gone to the local media several months ago. It would be interesting to see if a survey could be carried out by the bus passengers to see if they would really be in disagreement with the bus turning at the roundabouts. Also, it was felt that if pedestrians feel safer in not having to cross Ashford Road to catch a bus into Maidstone, it would obviously encourage more of the villagers to use the bus service. After careful consideration by the Councillors, it was seen prudent to ask Cllr Mrs J Whittle to pursue the matter again for us, and raise this issue with Stagecoach.
b. On the issue of the cherry-picker vehicle parked in the lay-by opposite The Pavings (partly already mentioned in Matters Arising, 8.b., Cllr Mrs J Whittle reported the following. An Officer from the Parking Services, Maidstone BC, had attended the site in question. Unfortunately, they cannot recommend that they introduce a limited waiting bay as the road is of insufficient length to accommodate one. Unfortunately, due to the narrowness of the road in this area, and the wish not to obscure sightlines, together with the pressures of parking within the village, Parking Services recommended that they would continue to monitor the situation, although they did not envisage a change to the current circumstances of parking regulations. The Clerk will also send the relevant emails through to Mr P Garten, Prospective Conservative Candidate for the MBC North Downs Ward, to see if he can progress a solution to this matter.
10. Cardwell Pavilion Hirers – Cllr A Ward on behalf of Cllr M Bedwell
Cllr M Bedwell and Cllr A Ward are going to meet with Christine Judges, the Manager of the Pre-School and Michelle Archer, the Manager of the After-School Club to discuss the hire of the Cardwell Pavilion, and the signature of the Pre-School Hirer Agreement. The meeting was advised that the After School Club had decided to leave the Cardwell Pavilion which would result in a material loss of income. It was agreed that attempts would be made to persuade Ms Archer to reconsider her decision as many parents had complained about the loss of the popular facility.
Action: Cllr M Bedwell and Cllr A Ward
11. Borough Councillor’s Report – Cllr Mrs D Parvin
a. Cllr Mrs D Parvin has advised the Parish Council that she will be attending the meeting next month.
12. Planning Report – Cllr Mr A Bennett
a. Cllr Mr A Bennett has recently been in hospital in a critical condition, but was now glad to report that he is now fighting fit and catching up with planning matters.
b. The Parish Council had received three planning applications, but these had not been supplied with any paperwork or drawings informing the Councillors of the works required. It is unwise to agree to minor alterations if we do not know what they are, and it was therefore felt that the Parish Council cannot comment or make a decision on the applications at this time. The three applications were:
15/510535/FULL – land adjacent to 103 Eyhorne Street (Plot 10)
Proposal: Minor material amendments
15/510228/NMAMD – Elm Cottage, 9 Eyhorne Street
Proposal: Non material amendment to increase that part of the building to be built within the earth bank of planning permission (15/504046/FULL).
15/510569/SUB – Manor Farm House, Church Green, Upper Street, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Submission of details for planning permission 15/503389/FULL and 15/503390/LBC to discharge condition 1 (time limit), condition 2 (approval plans), condition 3 (approval of external materials) and condition 4 (tree protection).
c. Update on 15/503232/FULL – 21 Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne, ME17 1TR
Following the Parish Council’s letter to Chief Executive, Ms Alison Broom, Maidstone BC, the Planning Officer dealing with the above planning application has admitted by email that mistakes have been made in this instance, and not all neighbours have been contacted regarding the proposals. This Planning Application is not going to be rushed through at the Planning Committee meeting held at the end of January 2016. Cllr P Waite, Cllr A Bennett and Mr Foad will attend the Committee meeting when the matter is to be discussed, as previously mentioned in ‘Matters Arising’.
Action: Cllr P Waite and Cllr A Bennett
13. Waterside Park, Junction 8 Update – Cllr J Cobbett
Gallaghers will appeal against the decision of refusal later on in January 2016.
14. Parish Assembly 2016 – Cllrs Mr & Mrs A Bennett
a. The Parish Assembly is going to be held on Tuesday, 12th April 2016.
b. It was agreed that the new format for the Parish Assembly worked really well. However, too many events are being included in the same evening and it was not felt that having the Parish Meeting before the Assembly worked particularly well. Some of the Parish Councillors felt ‘on show’ on the top table and some of the Assembly attendees just wanted to get on with the main event. It was considered by the Parish Councillors that perhaps a shortened Parish Meeting could take place on the Monday evening beforehand. Having the Parish Meeting separate will also enable the Councillors to mix and socialise with the Assembly guests, as this is one of the main reasons of the event.
c. It would be a good idea to ask additional businesses and organisations to attend the event. Local businesses could be encouraged to bring a prize with them to be included in a raffle. This would encourage people to attend the event and be a good source of advertisement for the businesses. The Clerk will also invite the Police Commissioner candidates, as the voting for this matter takes place in May 2016. Representatives of neighbouring Parish Councils and PCSO’s will be invited this year.
d. To bring the Parish Assembly into the lime-light, it will be a regular item on the Agenda over the next few months and advocated in the next month’s Parish Magazine. Cllr Mr A Bennett is going to look into having the event advertised in the Kent Messenger.
e. The invitation letters to the Parish Assembly will also include a RSVP, so that the Parish Council have a good idea of the number of people attending the evening, and it will include a description of the event for local businesses who possibly have not attended before. It is a good opportunity to advertise their services and mingle with other organisations.
15. Environmental Report – (via. Email from Cllr Mrs J Whittle)
a. Cllr Mrs J Whittle was hoping meet with Richard Emmett, Highway Manager, and Cllr Dr S Bauer with regards to the entrance of the village, from the A20 end, to discuss the matter of possible improved road user/pedestrian safety in the area. Unfortunately, the recent flooding in the county had to take priority, but it is hoped that a meeting can take place in the very near future.
16. Sewerage Inspection Report for the village update – Cllr J Cobbett
The initial sewerage inspection, which was carried out on the 23rd November 2015, did not give the residents of the village satisfactory answers. An action plan has been put in place with a request to Southern Water to carry out a formal sewerage capacity check. If the check is not satisfactory and if a an improvement plan for the future does not materialise, it was thought by Cllr Cobbett that letters should be sent to the residents of new housing stating “don’t flush your loos until after midnight”. The possibility of these letters may coax the housing developers to take responsibility for the inability of the village’s sewerage system to cope new build projects.
17. Fête Report
a. The next meeting for the Fete will be on the Monday, 18th January 2016, 8pm, at The Dirty Habit.
b. It was felt that since the Olympics and The Queen’s Sixtieth Jubilee had been the theme for the village fetes fairly recently a different subject would be fun. Cllr J Cobbett mentioned that 2016 will see the four hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, and that this would be an exciting and inspiring theme to have for the fete, giving ample scope for fancy dress and amateur dramatics! The Parish Councillors attending the meeting agreed that this idea would be very acceptable.
c. The local villagers have asked whether Mrs Margaret Warren, who has recently celebrated her 100th birthday, would like to open the fete. The Clerk will write to her to see if she would be willing and able to do this. Action: The Clerk
18. Off-Road Motorcyclists and Quad Bikes – nothing to report.
19. Twinning with Templeuve – Cllr J Cobbett – nothing to report.
20. Financial Report
a. The cheques at the meeting were authorised, and there is £36,681.08 in the bank.
b. It was agreed by the Parish Councillors that a donation of £25.00 would be given to Mr & Mrs Nicholls, for the electricity that they supplied to the Christmas tree on Tanyard Green. The Clerk will raise this cheque for them. Action: The Clerk
21. Street Lighting
a. There is a site meeting on Thursday, 21st January 2016, 2.00 pm, at the Cardwell Pavilion, with Sue Kinsella, Head of KCC Lighting, Cllr Mrs Jenny Whittle, Cllr J Cobbett, Cllr M Gray and The Clerk, with regards to the future of the village street-lighting.
22. Items for Information
Our MP Mrs Helen Whately is very keen that people register their comments by the 25th January 2016 regarding Operation Stack, details of which are on the Hollingbourne Parish website.
Date of next Parish Council meeting: Monday, 8th February 2016, 7.30 pm, Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne
Signed as a true record: Chairman: Date: